Monday, April 20, 2009

Parlez vous hippie?

Right ... I guess I'm back. If I HAVE to. Sigh. Today has been one of those annoying days filled with responding to emails and setting up meetings, sending out resumes, and putting things in my Outlook calendar. And at some point I will have to go grocery shopping and return my overdue library book. And then of course, I will finally have to get down to the business of writing my essays and beginning preparation for exams.

But, anyway, Europe!! Was awesome. I loved it and wish to move to France post haste and eat crepes with Nutella all day long.

However, there was one dark note to the trip, and by dark note I mean incredibly embarrassing for me, but probably more amusing for you.

On the train from Brussels to Paris I was interrogated by French customs officials who must have suspected that my innocent looks belied a true identity as a drug dealer ... or else they were reverse discriminating against people who actually speak French for ease of interrogation. Or something.

So, one of them asked me question after question while the other two ransacked my luggage (and seriously, if you are going to go through someone's suitcase, isn't it just polite not to pull things out, and then shove them back in? Shouldn't you make some attempt to fold stuff up a little nicely?)

I was mostly paying attention to my interrogator as my French, while passable, is not brilliant. Until I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the ransackers had pulled out my diva cup that I had wrapped in some tissue paper to dry .

"Oh ... crap," I thought as the two ransackers looked at the cup suspiciously, peeling back tissue paper layers to see what was inside. "How am I going to explain what the hell a DIVA CUP is in
French?" I had a feeling that "tasse de Diva" was really not going to cut it.

"C'est un produit feminine," I stammered, cheeks flushing, wishing they would just leave it the frack aside.

"Ah," they said to each other, but this did not stop them from their inspection. I suddenly wondered if I would be asked to explain exactly how this "produit feminine" worked, which, you all know that I have no shame discussing on the internets, but would really prefer not to explain to three French cutoms officials for various reasons I'm sure you'll understand, the least of which is that I really don't know enough of the relevant French. Some how, the word 'carcinogenic' appeared on my French 5 exam, but not 'hippie menstruation device.' Guess how many times I've had to use the word carcinogenic in French?

In the end, they decided that there were no drugs in my diva cup and put it back and the interrogation ended. "Vous parlez bien francais," they told me.

"Merci," I said gladly escaping to my seat. Luckily the remainder of my journey passed without incident. I never knew that traveling while being a hippie could be such a danger.

18 comments:

hgg said...

heehee, innocent look indeed, you look DIFFERENT (OMG, c'est dangereux quand meme). Glad you like France in other respects though.

And I love the Thalys. Especially in first class...which admittedly is the only I've tried [since work paid for it]

hgg said...

öööh, that comment made no sense at all (too much work these days)

ruchi said...

non, non, je le comprends ... j'aime le thalys aussi, mais pas les officiers de la douane!

but, i wasn't in first class. do you get anything special in first?

Beany said...

This was too funny!

Although when a friend asked me what sanitary napkins were (we were 13), I thought it was her mother's responsibility to inform her of the gory details. I instead told her that I used them to absorb sweat from my armpits....like reverse shoulder pads.

Diva Cup...I guess I would have said they were a little hat.

Anonymous said...

But even London is in Europe.

ruchi said...

Yeah you're right, but it's not The Continent!!

AND they're not on the Euro. AND you actually have to get your passport stamped when you enter and leave. AND it's a different time zone.

ruchi said...

Also, Beany I think it is HI-larious that you said that sanitary pads were for armpit sweat. Your friend must have thought you were VERY sweaty!!

hgg said...

wine

ruchi said...

ooooh. THAT is exciting.

Green Bean said...

hilarous!! thanks ruchi. always good for a giggle. :)

Eco Yogini said...

hehe, what a fantastic event! You are way better than me- I so would have said; 'C't'un Diva Cup' in my ridiculous 'Acadienne' accent (think below Québecois french in dialect). lol. love it.

also- Diva Cup is so fantastic for travelling. I cannot even BELEIVE what a plane experience would have been like without it!

Farmer's Daughter said...

I always hate going through customs, but I pretty much never travel. I'm always worried they're going to pull out my underwear and embarass me. Didn't realize there were other objects much more embarassing!

JessTrev said...

Wow. This is definitely the funniest blog post I've seen all day. I too am a fan of the "armpit sweat" white lie. Thanks, everyone, for sharing.

Mad Hatter said...

Am I the only one who finds it disturbing and kinda gross that three random strangers can get their grubby hands on someone's feminine product???

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Too funny! I'm glad you enjoyed "Europe" though (you know it's not one big homogenous country, right? ;))

ruchi said...

Cath, well, clearly it's not, because otherwise I wouldn't have had three customs officers searching my luggage between Brussels and Paris!! ;) I mean, isn't the point of the EU that you AREN'T supposed to have to deal with annoying customs between countries?!

And MH, I know, I'm seriously thinking I might need to sterilize my diva cup. Blah.

Carine said...

hahaha, I guess they didn't really understandd what it was otherwise their face would probably have shown some sign of embarassment too !!

So now i'll try to think about how to explain what is a mooncup in english, just in case something similar happens to me...

C'est dur d'être écolo !

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

I know, I'm just teasing you!

I've kept the packaging from my Diva cup, which is in English and French. I should take it with me on any future trips ;)

IIRC, the French for menstruation is regles, as in "j'ai mes regles". Don't quote me on that though, and definitely not to a French customs agent!